‘Siwaak’ the forgotten Sunnah
Alhamdulillaah, we all understand the importance of oral hygiene. Science in the twentieth century has shown us the link between poor oral hygiene and certain diseases such as stroke, heart disease, pre-term babies, as well as general ill-health of a person.
However, while shuffling between electric toothbrushes and expensive dental treatments, we forgot that while the rest of mankind just recently discovered the ‘toothbrush’ about a 100 years ago, one ‘unlettered’ Prophet (Pbuh) living in the middle of a desert 1400 years ago, already showed us the significance of brushing the teeth and keeping the mouth clean
The Prophet (Pbuh)’s teeth were beautiful, perfect and pearly white at a time when the concept of oral healthcare was totally obscure and nobody beyond the age of 30 had any teeth left!
He (Pbuh) used the ‘Siwaak’ or tooth stick to clean his teeth, a twig taken from the ‘araak’ tree found in and around Makkah. He (Pbuh) loved to use it and highly encouraged us to do the same.
Ibn Mas’ood said: “I used to gather Siwaak sticks from the araak tree for the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh).” (Ahmad–hasan).
Now, I am not telling you to throw out your toothbrushes in the garbage. The Siwaak is an act of worship and a Sunnah for which you will be rewarded, so use it in addition to you toothbrushes, and gain the pleasure of Allah, Most High.
BENEFITS OF SIWAAK:
1) Siwaak is an act of worship and pleases Allah
“The Prophet (Pbuh) said, ‘Siwaak cleanses the mouth and pleases the Lord.'” (Bukhaari)
2) The Prophet (Pbuh) highly encouraged it:
Use of the Siwaak is a Sunnah that you will be rewarded for and is greatly encouraged. The Prophet (Pbuh) said:
“Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the Siwaak at every time of prayer.” (Bukhaari)
3) Medical benefits
While some ‘educated’ Muslims consider the Siwaak ‘barbaric’ and ‘uncivilized’ and look down upon those who use it, scientific studies have proven beyond doubt, that the Siwaak not only brushes the teeth and keeps them white, but also has antibacterial properties, fights gingivitis, eliminates bad breath, strengthens the gums, prevents plaque, helps in digestion, and contributes to the general health of the individual. (Islamic medicine by Dr. Mohammad Nezar al Dagr)